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The Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration 



AN ILLUSTRATED SURVEY 
OF THE COLLECTIONS 



Cooper Square, New York 



The Cooper Union Museum lor the Arts of Decoration 



AN ILLUSTRATED SURVEY 
OF THE COLLECTIONS 



Cooper Square, New York : 1957 



Published on the occasion of the Sixtieth Anniversary of 
the Opening of The Cooper Union Museum 
l8^y : 26th May : I^)J 



Library of Congress Catalogue Card Nuinber ^j-ii^ij 

© l^^J by the Cooper Union Museum fr the Arts of Decoration 

Printed in the United States of America 



The notes accompanying t/ic illustrations were u'ritten by' Mrs. Hed\' Hacklin. Keeper 0/ 
Decorative Arts, Aliss Alice Baldu-in Brer, Keeper of Textiles, Miss Jean E. Mailey, 
Assistant Keeper of Textiles, llilliiim R. Osuuin, Keeper, Department 0/ Exhibitions, 
Richard Paul IFunder, Keeper of Drauings and Prints, and Calvin S. Hathaway. 



Introduction 



Even in a museum, which is supposed by many to be the 
quiet resting-place of objects that have died of obso- 
lescence or have been suffocated by over-solicitous 
custodians, the element of surprise is ever present. 
Here, as in the world at large, things are not always 
what they seem, and truth is elusive. Or if truth is 
constant, human perception is less so; the eye is not an 
entirely objective agent, and all too often it sees only 
what it is told to look for. Of such discrepancies in vision, 
comparable to changes in barometric pressure, is com- 
posed the history of taste. 

Taste, in other words, is still more difficult to discover 
and to identify than is truth; and when it happens that 
one's course must be steered by both of these will-o'-the- 
wisps, rather than by either of thein singly, the log of 
the voyage is likely to make interesting reading. 

The history of the Cooper Union Museum does in fact 
offer much that is of interest, even to those who were 
not present when the Museum began its voyage sixty 
years ago. Fortunately this history has not yet to be 



sought solely in written reports of the earlier years, or 
in the hearsay of those who did not observe at first hand. 
Among its staunch supporters the Museum is happy to 
count those who knew its founders, and who worked with 
them mightily in its creation and in the directing of its 
evolution. Thanks to these persons, there has flourished 
in the Museum a sense of continuity and of purpose that 
lias been a great source of strength. 

And w^hat of this history, and of the guiding purpose 
of the Museum? To a remarkable degree, the Museum's 
history has been a fair reflection of its purpose. It has 
steadily pursued, these six decades, its aim of being useful 
in raising the level of design of the objects that furnish 
and adorn daily living. The choice of material in its 
collections, determined by the needs of those for whose 
benefit the Museum exists, is remarkably coinprehensive. 
While seeking to obtain the best examples in the various 
categories of its collecting interest, the Museum rec- 
ognizes that the requirements of designers, of students 
of design, and of the ultimate consumer, involve the 



maintaining of a far larger number of categories thaji 
may have been considered elsewhere to merit assembly 
and display. There are, after all, other means of delight- 
ing the eye and satisfying the spirit than those of oil 
paint on canvas; and the imagination of today's designer 
is nourished and stimulated by a broader range of objects 
than those to which have been fastened, with varying 
proportions of hopefulness amd accuracy, the names of 
distinguished creators. And besides finished objects of 
the decorative arts, in all their diversity, the Museum 
has endeavored to assemble illustrative material that will 
explain, as far as the mysterious processes of creation can 
be explained, the genesis and development of the mate- 
rial represented in its collections. Preliminary sketches 
cuid studies are sometimes of considerable value in 
explaining the artist's intentions and his working habits; 
a scrap from a banner two hundred years old contributes 
to an understanding of spinning and weaving in the 
American colonies ; unfinished cameos and cameo blanks 
are a reminder of the career of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 
an early student of The Cooper Union. 

But the collections of this Museum have not been 
formed to be mute witnesses of what once was. Their 
purpose is to explain what now is, and to suggest what 
could be. Looking backward from idle curiosity is fre- 
quently fatal, as is proved b)' the example of Lot's wife; 
and besides developing its collections on the basis of their 
usefuhtess to today's designing requirements, the Muse- 
\im offers further interpretation of its possessions through 
special exhibitions in which are treated specific topics of 
design, material and technique. And here is to be found 
some of the surprise previously mentioned; for often 
enough it happens that objects in the collection admired 



in one context by an earlier generation develop other 
and equally valuable lessons for our own quite different 
day. An experience of this sort, when it occurs, goes far 
to reconcile the contradiction of those two aphorisms 
which would have it that beauty lies in the eye of the 
beholder, aJthough a thing of beauty is a joy forever. 

The sixtieth anniversary of the opening of the Cooper 
Union Museum provides cin occasion for presenting a 
pictorial survey of the collections. In the following 
pages appear forty illustrations, representative of a col- 
lection now numbering some eighty thousand objects, 
which have been selected and annotated to show alike 
the range of material to be found in the Museum and the 
quality of characteristic examples in various categories. 
Fuller information about certedn classes of objects has 
been published, from time to time, in the Museum's 
Chronicle. The present booklet, however, is the first 
picture book that has been issued by the Museum; and 
in commemorating an anniversary it commemorates 
also the generosity of hundreds of donors whose gifts 
and bequests have enriched the collections. 

For the listing of the names of these donors space is no 
more adequate than it is for illustrating their gifts. Some 
of the more conspicuous benefactions, however, can not 
be left unmentioned: the bequest of old master prints, 
collected by George Campbell Cooper, which brought to 
the Museum its first Mantegna engravings and Rem- 
brandt etchings even before tlie date of its formal open- 
ing; the magnificent gift, by J. Pierpont Morgan, of 
three European collections of te.xtiles, which placed the 
young Museum at the forefront of institutions possessing 
mediaeval silk fabrics; and the steady stream of works 
of art and of books that came from the open-handed 



founders, the Misses Sarah Cooper Hewitt and Eleanor 
Garnier Hewitt, through more than three decades. 
Exceptionally generous financial aid, from such amateurs 
of the arts as Miss Eleanor Blodgett, George A. Hearn 
and Jacob H. Schiff, permitted the early acquisition of 
many objects that could not now easily be bought; while 
the bequest of Erskine Hewitt and accompanying gifts 
by his nephew, Norvin Hewitt Green, added some 
hundreds of additional objects, collected by the Misses 
Hewitt, which admirably supplemented the Museum's 
treasure of drawings and ceramics. From America's 
most prodigious collector, William Randolph Hearst, 
caine the remarkable gift of a Dutch tile room, un- 
matched in American collections. More recent benefac- 
tions have been made by Mr. and Mrs. R. Keith Kane, 
who gave jewelry, costume accessories and lace from the 



collection of the late Mrs. Robert B. Noyes, and by 
Richard C. Greenleaf, donor of magnificent laces, em- 
broideries, and accessories of costume. Still more recently 
has come the remarkable series of gifts from the regretted 
Leo Wallerstein and Mrs. Wallerstein, through which 
the Museum has received a large and distinguished 
collection of engravings by Diirer and other German 
masters of the sixteenth century, and of etchings by 
Rembrandt. For these gifts, for the countless objects of 
high quality given by cin anonymous donor and by Irwin 
Untermyer, emd for the generosity which has provided 
the funds — the Au Panier Fleuri Fund, the Pauline 
Riggs Noyes Fund, and the Friends of the Museum 
Fund — used in the purchase of objects, the Museum is 
profoundly grateful. 

CALVIN S. HATHAWAY 




Height^ 7% in. 



An Early Christian saint appears here in the accepted 
style of the official portrait of a Roman consul, on a 
rearing horse with orb and sceptre, reduced from life- 
size stone to a small, brilliantly-colored roundel woven 
in wool Eind linen as part of a set of decorations for a 
tunic. A large amount of such material has fortunately 
been preserved in the dry sands of Egypt, then part of 
tlie East Roman Empire, ranging in size from great 



linen curtains with mythological scenes, and heroes, 
views of gardens and country life, or saints of the early 
Church, to small decorations like this. The Museum's 
well-rounded collection of Coptic weaving illustrates the 
great diversity of existing types, soine classical in feeling, 
others far advanced in the conventionalization of many 
local Coptic and Near Eastern styles, and serving as 
prototypes for contemporary painting. 




This monumental elephant, in black, 
white, aiid j^ellow on a crimson ground, 
was once one of a series on a silk vestinent 
worn in a cathedral in Romanesque Eu- 
rope. It is said to have come from the 
Cathedral of Vich in northeastern Spain. 
The subject itself has no religious connota- 
tion, but in this treatinent is one of the 
many fantastic animals coming into Spain 
in the early Middle Ages -wdth the Islamic 
conquerors from the Near East and Africa. 
In fascinating variety and liveliness, these 
creatures thronged medieval architectural 
detail, manuscript decorations, textiles, 
ivories, and wood-carvings, mciny of 
which were made for the service and 
glorification of the Church of the period, 
even in Islamic Spain. Elephants, in their 
actual rather than decorative aspect, were 
used as tanks in the Sasseinian army, and 
Hannibal's renowned crossing of the Alps 
was made even more spectacular by its 
supporting elephants. 

I Irii^lit of roundel , i ~ in. 



"The Lion Strangler" is here embodied 
in a medieval silk from an ecclesiastical 
vestment of Hispano-Islamic Spain. A 
group of Hispano-Islamic silks in this 
characteristic striking arrangement of 
strong dark red, green, and yellow, with 
honeycomb metal brocading, on a cream 
ground, show these strange old motives in 
heraldic arrangement in strong roundels. 
Two silks of this type in the Cooper Union 
Museum collection bear confronted 
sphinxes bitten by contorted lions, and 
bird-ladies with snakes at their napes, 
standing on lions. Like the elephant, 
these motives probably came into Spain 
from the Near East with the Islamic in- 
vaders. Their earliest prototypes, how- 
ever, may be seen exquisitely carved in 
Babylonian cylinder seals; and they were 
seen in Europe when they arrived in the 
archaic art of Greece. Many centviries 
later, in i8th and 19th-century France, 
sphinx-ladies were still flourishing in a 
more luscious and effulgent incarnation 
than ever before, no longer subjected to 
strangulation and, if possible, more 
enigmatic than ever. 

Height of roundel , 11 in. 





^ 









This beautiful medieval silk with its delicately 
patterned ground like moonlight has been as- 
signed to many countries, Eind the mysterious 
details of its designs have been read in many 
ways. No one can say whether the three insect- 
like forms accenting each trefoil are spiders, 
horse-shoe crabs, or stylized plant-forms. And 
no one can say more than that the very fine, 
sophisticated weaving with "pockets" behind 
the satin areas, and twilled silver-gilt brocading 
now darkened with tarnish, is of a type found 
in Sicily, Spain, and Italy in the 14th century. 
The exquisitely graceful design itself, with 
Islamic inscriptions on banderoles, represents 
a union of Islam and the West particularly 
widespread at this tiine when Muhammadan- 
ism had extended its boundaries across Africa 
and far up into Spain, and the Mediterranean 
was busy with trading \'essels between Europe 
and the Near East. 



Ih-ight of repeat, 8 in. 



The ceramic art of China during the T'ang and 
Sling dynasties did not fail to awaken artistic 
aspirations in neighboring Korea; there, similar 
technical and esthetic standards were adopted, 
as early as the ninth century. Celadon glazes 
appeared in a multitude of hues, some opaque 
bluish, some closer to an olive tint and more 
transparent. Such a glaze covers this gallipot, 
given by David James in memory of his brother, 
William James, which is decorated in an inlay 
technique of black and white clay, the invention 
of which is credited to the Korean potters. The 
graceful lines framing the medallions and the 
lower part of the vase betray some Near Eastern 
influence — a proof of the open exchange of 
ideas among the creators of objects made for 
human delight. 



Height, 8'/8 in. 





Heiglit, 634 in. 



Probably the most prolific engraver of the 15th century, 
Israhel vEin Meckenem (before 1450-1503) shows his 
mastery as a designer in such ornament prints as this 
one, symbolizing the Garden of Love. This intricate 
work, done late in the artist's career, is one of the earliest 
ornament prints in the Museum's extensive collection 
of such material. Although carried out in the tradition 



of late Gothic German florid surface pattern, the design 
looks directly forward to the interlacings of foliage seen 
in Northern European ornament prints of the 18th 
century. Like nicuiy of the finest prints given to the 
Museum in recent years, this engraving comes from the 
collection of Leo Wallerstein. 



The awakening of the Renaissance in Northern Europe 
is indicated particularly well in the art of the engravers 
and inetal craftsinen of Germany. This drawing, in pen 
and black ink with yellowish wash, is for a table center- 
piece, cominissioned of an Augsburg goldsmith about 
1498, and honors the union of two important families, 
the Pfister and the Herewarth. Perhaps the designer 
was so proud of his work that he intended making an 
engraving of it, for this drawing possesses every indica- 
tion of being intended for engraving, though no such 
print after it has yet come to light. Although the Museum 
is not fortunate in possessing an original Augsburg work 
of the period, such a sketch as this is perhaps still more 
seldom encountered than an actual object. 

Height,! 6 V2 in. 




13 



In spite of the rarity in America of 1 5th-centtiry ItEilian 
drawings, this single example in the Museum's extensive 
collection of figure drawings is a sketch (shown here in 
actual size) in metalpoint on a prepared ground of a 
torso, a copy of a classical statue of the Venus Pudica 
type, and is attributed to Benozzo Gozzoli (1420-1497). 
The choice of subject gives visible proof of a lively interest 
in the antique enjoyed by Florentine artists of the 
Renaissance, for antique marbles are known to have 
existed in the Medici collections. 

Ilriirht, 63. in. 



14 




The small pastiglia casket, purchased with the aid of the 
Friends of the Museum Fund, is a work of Northern 
Italy, where artisans like the Venetian Embrachi family 
perpetuated the traditions of fine relief carving in ivory 
and bone. The gesso-like material employed in this small 
chest is treated in a similarly plastic way, raised in relief 
against a gilded ground. Characteristic of the period 



Height, 4'/4 in. 

around 1500, the motives on front and back are myth- 
ological scenes showing the Calydonian Boar Hunt and 
the Judgment of Paris, framed by pilasters and acanthus- 
leaf mouldings. In its shape the casket is related to more 
precious reliquaries, but the decoration is proof of its 
worldly purpose to house the sinall treasures of some 
Italian nobleman or lady. 



15 








An artisan's working drawing CcUi be an important 
key to the study of the decorative arts. This pre- 
paratory sketch, in pen and bistre wash, is of the 
front elevation of the lower portion of a silver 
crucifix ordered by Cardinal Alessaaidro Farnese 
of the goldsmith, Antonio Gentili (1531-2-1609) 
for St. Peter's, Rome, in 1578. At either side are 
seen figures of bound captives, which existed as 
earlier pieces, around which Gentili has designed 
his object. On the reverse of the paper on which 
this dra\ving is made is amother, a powerful, 
spontaneous sketch of a Pieta, which proves the 
further versatility of this draftsman. 

Height, ic)!'i in. 



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]6 




Height, 7% in. 



The adaptability of leather to the most diversified pur- 
poses and treatments has provided mankind not only 
with material for clothing and an innumerable array of 
utensils, but also for highly decorative objects such as 
bookbindings, etuis and cofferets. The tooled surface of 
this 16th-century Italian example, given by Mrs. Max 

17 



Farrand, is covered with the familiar grotteschi of Ren- 
aissance iinagery, terminating in graceful scrolls, raised 
in relief against the punch-marked ground. It exploits 
the plastic qualities of leather in a thoroughly decorative 
way, while remaining an object of durability and fitness 
for practical purpose. 





Ill II 







llriiiht, iG's in. 



Considered by the architect, Jacques Androuet Du Cer- 
ceau (i 510-1 2-about 1585), his most important private 
undertaking, the Chateau de Verneuil, situated on the 
river Oise, north of Paris, was erected from 1568 to 
1575. Unfortunately, in the 18th century the materials 
of this chateau were used to build another, so that all 
that remains today are tlic foundation stones. This pen 



and wash drawing of Du Cerceau's second scheme, one 
of the few 1 6th-century architectural drawings in Amer- 
ica, comes from the famous Destailleur and Decloux 
collections. It represents minor changes in disposition 
from the design of the chateau as published by Du 
Cerceau in his survey, Les Plus Exccllents Bastiiiu-nts df 
la France, of which the Museum possesses a copy. 



Height, 2 1 in. 




'-y :t: j- *^ ^ 







v'^ *^ 



>t|i 






The embroidered panel, worked in couched gold and 
colored silks, brings into play the gift of the Italian Ren- 
aissance for beautifully organized pattern combined with 
exuberant fancy, here devoted to a religious theme. The 
elaborate symmetrical enframement of gold strap-work, 
dominated above and below by the four adoring winged 
figures emerging from foliage, the winged cherubs' 
heads, the flower sprays, fruits, and twining ribbon, are 
conceived as the suitable settina; to enclose the small 



19 



picture of the Nativity, so skilfully embroidered in pale 
silk and shaded gold. In its free composition within the 
circle are the kneeling Mary and Joseph before the 
Infant, shepherds, guardian angels, and above, heavenly 
forins cloud-borne. Purchased in 1955, this embroidery 
of the late 16th or early 17th century adds, to the 
Museum's collection of design of the saine period in 
other media, a distinguished expression of ornament, 
composition, and of the technique of the needle. 




The religious and aristocratic traditions connected with 
the making and wearing of the sword and its accoutre- 
ments provided seemingly endless suggestions to the 
craftsman's imagination; mythology and nature contri- 
buted alike to the masters who created these exquisite 
objects of adornment. Here is shown an early example 
of the art of the Japanese swordsmith, one of over eleven 
hundred sword mountings in the George Cameron Stone 
Bequest. Later examples, with their unbelievably fine 
workmanship of inlay ajid the use of contrasting metal 
alloys, are perhaps more familiar to AinericEin e^'es; this 
1 7th-century tsuba, or sword guard, evokes in silhouette 
the fallen camellia. 



Height, 4 in. 



This magniiicent late 16th-century velvet is a witness to 
the close link at this time between Venice, the Bride of 
the Sea, and Turkey, the center of the great Ottoman 
Empire. Definitely eastern in its rich and daring color- 
scheme of strie mauve pile on lacquer-red satin, and in 
its mighty metal ogives with the delicate complications 
of supplementary leaves and stems showing the cinnabar 
ground color, it is still so much in accord with Venetian 
taste that the characteristic softness of its silver-gilt 
threads alone proves its Turkish origin. A beautiful 
chasuble-back in the Cooper Union Museum collection, 
with a silver-gilt palmette in a bold ogival satin and 
metal framework, centered in a field of grass-green strie 
pile on a red satin ground, is of the same group of 
resplendent fabrics where East and West do meet. 

Height of repeat, 40 '/o in. 





( Detail}; If 1 1 It h, 10- 



This embroidered coverlet was made in India in the 
17th century for export to Europe, and was carefully 
preserved until 1953 at Ashburnhani Place in Sussex, 
in England. The popular design of the flowering tree, 
perhaps Elizabethan in origin and once an export from 
England to India, here returns to the western world iu 
fine pink, green, and gold silk chain stitch in a version 
suggesting /a/;;;7/c rose porcelain, with its enamel-like 
surface, lotus-like flowers, and paired jihoenixes. hi a 



curtain of matching design, also in the Museum, an 
utterly different interpretation is achieved by the age- 
old Indian technique of treating a cotton cloth to a series 
of dyeing and painting processes so as to obtain a delicious 
richness of nuance, color and detail. 

In anotlier museum is a piece of early 1 8th-century 
crev\'el-work of the same design, embroidered, surpris- 
ingly, in New England. 




L«.^ 






Height, 58 in. 



The development of pattern and design in Europe has 
been so spurred by contact with the East that the Dutch 
tile panel, in violet monochrome, here illustrated might 
well have served as a frontispiece to the present booklet. 
While there may be some ambiguity of subject matter 
(is cargo being loaded at an Eastern port, or unloaded in 
the West?) , less uncertainty surrounds the origin of the 



tiles, which appear to have been made in Rotterdam in 
the neighborhood of 1725, for Lubbert Adolf Torek of 
the Castle of Rozendaal, near Arnhem. Once in the 
possession of Leopold II, King of the Belgians, this panel, 
together with the tile facing for a complete room 
decorated in the style of Daniel Marot, was given to the 
Museum in 1926 by William Randolph Hearst. 




Height, 4-'j in. 



The use of gilt bronze nioLints on furniture and arcliitec- 
tural woodwork in 18th-century France is docnmented 
in the Museum by a rich collection of appliques, escutch- 
eons and other decorative onnohi. From the chapel of 
Jules Hardouin Mansart at the Palace of Versailles, all 
white and gold except for ceiling and floor, comes this 
finely modelled lock case, bearing the Royal emblems: 



a sceptre, terminating in a fleur-de-lis and symbolizing 
the king's sovereigntj', crossed with the main de justice, 
sign of the monarch's judicial power over the lives and 
pro]ierty of his subjects, and interlaced with the Crown 
of Thorns, svmbol of the spiritual power emanating from 
this hnlv ri'lic brought into French possession bv Si. Louis. 



24 



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Height, 8 1/4 in. 



(lilies Marie Oppenort (1672-1742), one of the greatest 
innovators in the development of French rococo design, 
has left a rich legacy of drawings and engravings of his 
own work. This Museum is fortunate in possessing some 
drawings and a number of engravings of Oppenort's 
work, including the series collected, engraved and pub- 
lished by Huquier, all of which come from the collection 



of Leon Decloux.This drawing, in pen and ink, delicately 
washed with watercolors, is Oppenort's design for the 
Royal bed alcove of the Palais Royal, the official Paris 
residence of the Regent, Louis, due d'Orleans, a commis- 
sion which was completed in 1716. Also in the Decloux 
collection are similar drawings by other famous decorators 
of the period, as well as many for furniture design. 



25 




Tea was at once a cause and an expression of 
English prosperity. As the East India ConipEiny's 
merchantmen brought ever-increasing quan- 
tities of the fragrant leaves to England, the 
profitable trade created a train of pleasant 
events, one of which w^as the making of this 
elegant London tea-kettle on stand. Perhaps 
vmder influence from the Continent, where 
enjoyment of full, rounded forms was inore 
freely indulged, the basically Chinese shape of 
his kettle has been given a self-assured am- 
plitude that is yet measured and contained by 
the scale of the moulding bands of curved 
profile. The kettle, made by William Fawdery 
and dated 171 1-1712, partalces of the abstract 
nature of a chessman, or of a topiarist's clipped 
yew. For this distinguished example of the 
silversmith's art the Museum is indebted to 
Irwin Untermyer. 

Height, 14I4 in. 



An appeal of Venetian 18th-century drawings 
is the verve and sparkle with which they are 
rendered. This study, in pen and bistre wash, 
for an Annunciation, is by one of the greatest of 
the Venetian draftsmen, Giovanni Battista 
Tiepolo (1696-1770). Heavy forms and strong 
contrasts allow us to place this hurried yet 
dynamic sketch midway in the artist's career. 
In addition to this drawing and two others, the 
Museum possesses a nearly complete set of the 
etched works of Tiepolo and his two sons, all 
collected by Miss Sarah Cooper Hewitt. 

Height, iQVi in. 




27 




















i^5 V^-^-^^ ^V y^ "^-^ -^-^2 V^ 



Height, 



Iliis llounce of needle lace, the gift of Richard C. Green- 
leaf in 1950, is a dramatic example of those elaborate 
laces known as Points de France, which developed under 
the royal patronage of Louis XIV and of which the 
^h^seum's collection contains other fine pieces. It is lo 
be remembered that from the i6th century to the 
Revolution lace was as much worn by men as by women : 
their cravats, collars, c\iffs, and. for churclinu'n, flounces 



on albs, appear often in portraits. In the opulent design 
of the Museum's piece the arrangement of rich floral 
forms in w-reath and spray clings to the inherent sym- 
metry of late 1 7th- and early 18th-century te.xtile pattern, 
to which latter period this lace belongs; but by extra- 
ordinary variety of skilful stitches, producing light and 
solid areas, contrasts of mass and shade are achieved, the 
peculiar gift of lace at its i'inest. 

28 




Diameter, 14% in. 



When the Meissen porcelain nianvifactory went into its 
third decade, a marked change took place from the 
pictorial to a more plastic ornamentation. After a num- 
ber of table services with relief borders, of which the 
well-known "Erhabene Blumen" is represented by 
three pieces in the Museum collection, Johann Joachim 
Kandler {1704-1775) began work on the unprecedented 
project of an enormous service decorated with shells, 



water plants, tritons, and groups of swans, giving the 
service its name. The sensitively modelled relief of this 
large plate, where the ripples of the water provide a 
background for the graceful swans, is proof of the in- 
genuity and artistry with which Kandler attacked his 
task to provide the Director of the factory. Count Briihl, 
with the most fabulous tableware conceived in porcelain. 



29 




The eighteenth century saw sudden and great expeaision 
in the knowledge of materials and techniques, a know- 
ledge quickly applied to the enrichment of daily li\'ing. 
^^'ith this gilded drinking glass, however, the moment 
of mass distribution is still remote; its elegantly engraved 
sides are more suggestive of court than of cottage. 
Probably made in Silesia, in the 1740's, its fanciful 
adornment with Chinese garden scenes and sailing 
\essels mvist have been designed to carrv its user awav 
from the here and now, and in so doing to further the 
mission of its contents. 

/Iris:/it, 6 in. 



30 



The innumerable attempts to approximate in Europe 
the qualities of the fervently desired and highly prized 
Chinese porcelain produced many more or less successful 
inventions. In spite of the difference in composition — 
not kaolin, but ground glass, was used in the effort to 
attain whiteness and translucency — some of the French 
soft paste porcelain in its appearance coines very close to 
the blanc de Chine of Fukien. The warm shimmering 
whiteness, so different from the cold brightness of true 
porcelain, was favored by the French long after Bottger's 
secret had spread from Meissen. This small jar from 
Mennecy, given by Mrs. Edward Luckemeyer, is an 
example of the delightful products of the French factories 
around 1 750, using the traditional Chinese applied floral 
decoration in swags of more customary European style 
to enhance the simple shape. 

Height, 61/2 in. 





Height, 1 17% in. 



The creation of urbaxi landscapes cind the great 
development of palatial architecture during the 
eighteenth century provided rich opportunities 
for the use of ornamented griUe-work, for the 
enclosure of whole squares like the Place Stein- 
islas in Nancy, or for gates, bcdconies and 
decorative architecturEil details. In the Museum 
collection of wrought iron, this bracket and 
lantern (given by Isabella Barcla)-, Inc.) togeth- 
er with a monumental balcony from the 
Bishop's Palace at Konstanz, are representative 
of the South Germctn ironwork wliich has its 
most famous expression in the Residenz gates of 
Wiirzburg. The diversified scrollwork of plain 
bars and flat, pierced elements blends \vith 
graceful flowers and stalks to a rich harmony of 
conventionalized and naturalistic elements. 
The ornamented beauty of geometrical composi- 
tions is further represented in the Museum by 
exEimples of French wrought ironwork, and by 
American cast iron of the nineteenth century. 



32 



Such French silversmiths' work of the i8th 
century as succeeded in evading royal edict and 
escaping the melting pot was all too often the 
victim, finally, of a still more deadly enemy: 
change of fashion. A pair of candelabra now in 
the Musevim preserves to our own century the 
evidence of designer's ability and master crafts- 
man's skill, and illustrates the double capacity 
of the rococo style for sculptural solidity and 
linear movement. A strong twisted baluster 
form here supports branches almost wiry in 
their turnings, the twisted modelling of the 
candle sockets providing a final note of harmo- 
nious repetition of the dancing flames of the 
candles for whose support this gleaming confec- 
tion was designed. Made in 1739-1740 by the 
Parisian master Claude Ballin the Younger, 
these candelabra add a third dimension to the 
Museum's extensive collection of designers' 
prints and original drawings for similar 
creations. 

Height, 19J16 in. 




33 




llcisht, 10'.. 



One of the interesting groups of drawings in the Museum's 
collection is that of French and Italian theatrical de- 
signs, ranging from the mid- 1 7th century to about 1840. 
This design for a stage setting by Michelangelo Fasano 
(active about '750-1775), carried out in pen and ink 
with grey washes, shows the dungeon of a great castle, 
h displays ('<)in|)liratod perspective, successfully realized 



in the hands of this Italian designer, and probably 
considerably enlivened what otherwise might have been 
a rather dull spectacle. In addition to the Bibiena, the 
names of many minor designers for the theatre — ^names 
all but unknown elsewhere — are encountered in this 
grouji of drawings. 



34 



French weaving of the i8th century achieved heights 
of technique required to produce the variety of siUvs and 
graceful elements of costume of that century's fashion. 
The waistcoat of silver cloth, brocaded in colors and gold, 
is an example of the skill, taste and textile design of the 
last quarter of the century. The silver ground, flecked 
with green and gold flowers, is woven in one with the 
narrow elaborate border. Here red roses in chenille inter- 
twine with garlands of gold; flower heads of colored foil 
are outlined with gold cord; and stems, with threads of 
minute paillettes. Yet so adroit is the handling of the 
many elements that the grace of the whole is not over- 
burdened. Lent four years ago for a temporary exhibi- 
tion, in which were also shown many of the Museum's 
original drawings for waistcoats, this brilliant master- 
piece has now been given by Richard C. Greenleaf in 
honor of the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Museum's 
opening. 

Height, 32 in. 





^'\hether monumental construction, animated with 
figures of the twelve Apostles, Christ and the Devil, Eind 
measuring out time from the tower of a medieval city 
hall, or small wonder of precision, embedded in a jewelled 
case of diminutive size, timepieces have always attracted 
the efforts of artist-craftsmen. A Japanese lacquerer 
made the lofty cage for a Yagura Dokei, an English 
cabinetmcdver built the early 18th-century case for John 
Scott's standing clock, and Pierre Philippe Thomire may 
well have been the master of the rich gilt bronze decora- 
tion of an amusing French Empire clock, which all form 
part of the collection of clocks in the Museum. Illustrated 
here is a French mantel clock, of about 1775, given by 
Louis J. Bosnian euid formerly in the collection of Mrs. 
Henry Walters; the work by Le Comte is flanked by 
allegorical figures in gilt bronze, placed on a carved 
marble base. 



llciiiht, 22 !» in. 



36 




Height, 53 in. 



The changing social hfe of the 1 8th century gave birth 
to a inuhitude of new types of furniture, from tea table 
to bergere and to coquettish bonheur du jour, where 
inventiveness played hide-and-seek in secret compart- 
ments and hidden drawers. Nearly as magic as any of 
these, but far more functional, is this architect's table, 
which provides drawers, writing board, a top adjustable 
in two directions and at many angles, and an automatic- 



ally emerging book rest, not to mention brackets for the 
attachment of candle sockets. Made in Neuwied by 
David Rontgen (1743-1807), one of the German cabinet- 
makers who were particularly favored by Marie 
Antoinette and in consequence by a large circle of 
customers in Paris, the table is a piece of beautiful 
proportions, of ingenious as well as minutely careful 
execution. 



37 




Height, 8 in. 



An increasing concern with the problems of city planning 
has aroused considerable interest in the work of planners 
and architects of past generations. This ink drawing by 
Giuseppe Valadier (1762-1839), one of many of similar 
character in the JNIuseum's collection of drawings, e.xhibits 
the interest on the part of late 18th-century Italian 
architects in the same problems that confront us today. 
Valadier, chiefly remembered for his resourceful re- 



visions of Rome's streets and squares, was, as well, a 
designer of interior decoration, furniture, metalwork 
and ecclesiastical ornamentation. All phases of his re- 
markable versatility are to be seen in the multiphcity of 
his drawings now in the Museum, originally collected in 
Rome by the Cavaliere Ciiovanni Piancastclli and 
brought to New York hi 1 90 1 . 



38 




Height, 'j'/i in. 



Portraits of interiors are less common than portraits of 
persons. Even so, an interior, too, can possess a personality 
of its own. Such is the case with this charming view, in 
bright watercolors, of a German sitting room by a 
Coblenz artist who dates his work i8^8 and signs himself 



as Rhaes. The rubber plants, post-Biedermeier furniture 
and florid wall-paper give us a glimpse of the city- 
dweller's taste of the period. Views like this are not 
common; even so, it is hoped that this phase of the 
Museum's collection will grow richer in time. 



39 




Hfigin, 59 u in. 



Suggestive of the rhythmical movement it performs, 
the steel framework of this rocking chair shows an 
astonishing presentiment of 20th-century developments 
in furniture building, and seems to have been the first 
step on the way leading from mid-Victorian exuberance 
in carving and upholstery toward what the Bauhaus 
movement seventy years later lahcllcd "iiiacliines for 



sitting." Uniting rocker, leg, seat rail and back post in 
one continuous line, which acts as a spring. Peter Cooper, 
founder of Cooper Union and builder of tlie Tom Thumb, 
extended here the range of his interest in locomotion, an 
interest that began with his patented self-rocking cradle 
and included the building of America's first home- 
grown railroad '"enoiine." 



40 




Height, i6y8 in. 



In the Museum's collection of over three hundred draw- 
ings and twenty-two oils given by Charles Savage Homer, 
nearly every phase of the development of the American 
artist, Winslow Homer (1836-1910), is represented. 
Perhaps the most interesting of Homer's drawings are 
those which were done at the outset of the artist's career 
as artist-correspondent for Harper s JVeekly, during the 



Civil War. Later, he became almost completely absorbed 
in the sea and the people who work and live with it. This 
study, given by Charles W. Gould, in black and white 
chalks on green-grey paper, for Banks Fishermen, also 
called The Herring Net, shows the artist's characteristic 
method in which the highlights are separately rendered. 



41 




There is sometimes a world of difference between taste 
and decoration, between design and pattern, between 
the intent of the artist and its realization. Some viewers 
might be reminded, by this wallpaper panel, of Grand- 
mother's Whatnot; others may find in it a superb ex- 
ample of French wallpaper production in the mid-igtli 
century. Against a rich beige ground is set a Wcdnut- 
colored structure with toviches of gold, recalling the 
elaboration of late 16th-century ornament and provid- 
ing a suitably ceremonious setting for the central episode, 
printed in many gradations of color from yellow through 
cream to pure white. Whether screen-printed in one 
color or produced with several hundred woodblocks, the 
wallpapers of the Musevim's collection provide at once a 
full view of the history of wallpaper manufacture and a 
usefid insight into the mind, the methods and the taste 
of decorative designers through two centuries. 

Ilriii/il, 95" « in. 



42 




Jewelry is usually valued as much for the preciousness 
of its materials as for its artistic merit which, in con- 
sequence, is often low. The Museum is particularly 
fortunate in its collection of jewelry, representing the 
changes of style over the past two centuries, and in its 
remarkably large collection of jewelry designs covering 
an even longer span. The jewels shown here illustrate 
the taste, in all meanings of that abused word, and the 
technical proficiency of the 19th century. The gold 



earrings in the form of sirens, whose eyes are closed in 
the ecstasy of their song, are archaeologically exact re- 
productions of Greek pieces of the Fifth or Fourth 
Century, B.C.; while the rams' heads in the "Etruscan" 
style are a freer adaptation of antique eleinents. The 
tiny (five-eighths of an inch) head of a pin, a winged 
boy on a bird, is a tour de force of granular work that 
calls for a magnifying glass. 



-.mmmm^mmm 



1 




The versatility of glass as a transparent, clear substance, 
and a colored, opaque paste, has been a multiple challenge 
for the craftsman since the beginnings of glassmaking: 
to exploit its fragile, transcendent quedities or to paint or 
encrust it and thus make use of colors in its ornamenta- 
tion. In this Favrile glass (given by Harry Harkness 
Flagler), Louis Comfort Tiffany, at the beginning of the 
present century, united the two trends in a vase of classic 
outline. The transparencies and opacities form a pattern 
of a distinctly organic, but quite abstract kind, which is 
enhanced b^' superimposed lustered strokes, evoking the 
iridescence of the decayed surface of ancient glass, and 
at the same time adding a shimmering glow to the 
delicate shades of pink and amber. 




Height, 9 in. 



44 



The Museum's furniture collection is distinguished above 
all in the abundance of chairs that remind the visitor 
how many and varied are the solutions for the problems 
of design. The rocking chair on page 40 represents one 
extreme in practicality; this chair, on the contrary, pre- 
sents the triumph of an idea over its means of realization. 
It is of an admirably close-grained wood offering little 
opposition to the flowing lines of the style which was 
considered so ''organic" by its practitioners in Paris at 
the onset of the present century. Hector Guimard 
(1867-1942) is well known as the designer of the Paris 
Metro entrances. Here can be seen an equally hospitable 
exuberance in the design of a chair for his own dining 
room; and, through the generosity of Madame Guimard, 
the Museum possesses further examples of his work in 
many other media. 

Height, 44',;: in. 





45 




Le Feu is one of a series of four silks representing tlie 
elements, earth, air, fire and water, designed by Made- 
moiselle Clairinval, executed by Tassinari and Chatel in 
Lyon, shown at the Exposition Internationale des Arts 
Decoratifs in Paris in 1925, and given to the Museum 
bv an anonymous donor to whose generosity are due 
many of the Museum's finest possessions. 

Though one of inan's baseless beliefs is that of the 
Salamander's love of flame, which moved Francis I to 
place it on his arms ^'coiniiie enibleine de son ardeiir 
aino/ireiisr," it has connotations of courage and hope. 
Jn this silk, against a dark brown satin ground grow 
flower-like forms of orange flames in which the sal- 
amanders move; and above swirl golden clouds of smoke. 

An end and a beginning. 



Lriiiitli 0/ ri-/Ji7il, 22 in. 



46 



Layout and tYlMgrapIn' hy Bcrl Clarke Printed by Clarke <(' // a^\ Inc.. at The Thistle Press, .\eir } ork 



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